Virginia cracked the 10,000 test mark Tuesday with a combination of COVID-19 reaction and antibody tests, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday.
Virginia’s lackluster testing and shifting reporting methods have made it difficult for Virginians to gauge how well the state is responding to COVID-19. On Wednesday, Northam assured residents the state is moving in the right direction when it comes to tests, positivity rates and supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Virginia Department of Health returned results on 9,782 polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests — a test that determines whether someone has COVID-19 — and 426 antibody tests on Tuesday.
Statewide figures included 32,908 cases, 3,979 hospitalizations and 1,074 deaths. Total numbers include 1,661 probable cases, 28 probable hospitalizations and 34 probable deaths.
Virginia’s confirmed and probable cases make up a small portion of the state’s 8.5 million population but the virus has killed 3.26% of the people who contract it.
In an effort to prevent spreading the virus — which is particularly dangerous for people with underlying health conditions or who are older — Northam said the state has shored up its supplies of PPE and made sure it is flowing into the hands of health care workers.
Over the course of the pandemic, Virginia has distributed more than 793,000 N95 masks, 1.3 million surgical masks, 3 million pairs of gloves, 285,000 gowns, 427,000 face shields and 24,000 containers of hand sanitizer to different areas of need, Northam said.
The state is also doling out portions of its $58 million outlay to improve contact tracing programs around the state. That fund will help pay for 200 new communicable disease investigators and 100 contact tracers.
Dr. Norman Oliver, the state health commissioner, said contact tracers are in touch with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are staying in contact with anyone who may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
Containing community spread and improving the number of tests the state can conduct daily will determine if Virginia is ready to move out of phase one. Northam said he did not have a timeline for when he will be ready to announce if Virginia — in whole or in part — is ready to continue moving forward with reopening.
Virginia’s positivity rate — the percentage of PCR tests that return positive — has trended downward since a high of 22.2% on April 19. On Wednesday, the positivity rate was 14.5%.
The Lord Fairfax Health District reported it had 973 cases, 91 hospitalizations and 35 deaths. The district’s figures include 125 probable cases, two probable hospitalizations and two probable deaths. Wednesday’s figures show 38 new cases, three new hospitalizations and no new deaths.
• Shenandoah County reports it has 345 cases, 33 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.
• Frederick County reports it has 234 cases, 19 hospitalizations and three deaths.
• Page County reports it has 166 cases, 19 hospitalizations and 17 deaths.
• Warren County reports it has 105 cases, 11 hospitalizations and two deaths.
• Winchester City reports it has 104 cases, seven hospitalizations and one death.
• Clarke County reports it has 19 cases, two hospitalizations and no deaths.